Renewables, disruptive technologies seen as energy leaders’ key priorities

The twelfth annual World Energy Council (WEC) Issues Monitor for New Zealand shows climate change, renewable energy and energy efficiency are hot issues for energy executives. 

This year energy leaders see carbon abatement as a critical uncertainty, particularly now as the energy sector reviews draft advice from the Climate Change Commission which sets emissions targets until 2035, according to statement from BusinessNZ.

It says the Issues Monitor provides a snapshot of what keeps energy policymakers, CEOs and leading experts in 108 countries busy during the day and awake at night.

The survey looks at 30 issues and how they are perceived by energy leaders from different parts of the world. Issues are rated in terms of their criticality and uncertainty to highlight areas where urgent action is required now, or areas of future uncertainty.

BusinessNZ Energy Council (BEC) executive director Tina Schirr says more than a third of those surveyed identified renewable energy as a top priority. Energy storage was also identified as a top priority, with energy storage innovation becoming an increasingly critical uncertainty.

Innovative transport is another area of uncertainty with changes in the transport sector expected to play an important role in decarbonising the economy.

“We are advocating for carefully weighing up all renewable opportunities. We must be wary of betting the house on any given technology and focus on what will drive the lowest carbon outcome for New Zealand,” Schirr says.

Unsurprisingly, economic trends and cyber-security also emerged as critical uncertainties this year, driven by the ongoing effects of the Covid pandemic.

Digitalisation and demand-side innovation are seen as opportunities to advance the energy transition according to this year’s data.

“Distributed energy and demand management systems have the potential to deliver a customer-centric service while diversifying and decarbonising the energy supply.”

Schirr says the increased speed and granularity of data means the sector will need to consider arrangements for information access and sharing, and opportunities to automate, or apply artificial intelligence to solutions.

The World Energy Council’s interactive Issues Monitor tool helps users view, filter, analyse and download customised maps by a range of topics, locations and issues and to compare the issues that are priorities here with those that are critical in other countries.

See a summary of results or read the full report.


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